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Keeping it simple: the grammatical properties of shared book reading

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 November 2017

Claire H. NOBLE*
The University of Liverpool
The University of Manchester
The University of Manchester
Address for correspondence: Claire Noble, University of Liverpool – Department of Psychological Sciences, Eleanor Rathbone Building, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool, Merseyside L69 7ZA, United Kingdom. e-mail:


The positive effects of shared book reading on vocabulary and reading development are well attested (e.g., Bus, van Ijzendoorn, & Pellegrini, 1995). However, the role of shared book reading in grammatical development remains unclear. In this study, we conducted a construction-based analysis of caregivers’ child-directed speech during shared book reading and toy play and compared the grammatical profile of the child-directed speech generated during the two activities. The findings indicate that (a) the child-directed speech generated by shared book reading contains significantly more grammatically rich constructions than child-directed speech generated by toy play, and (b) the grammatical profile of the book itself affects the grammatical profile of the child-directed speech generated by shared book reading.

Brief Research Reports
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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Claire Noble is a Research Associate on the Reading Together Project at the University of Liverpool. The support of the Economic and Social Research Council [ES/M003752/1] is gratefully acknowledged. Lieven and Cameron-Faulkner's research is supported by a grant to the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD: The support of the Economic and Social Research Council [ES/L008955/1] is gratefully acknowledged.


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